tv Deutsche Welle European Journal LINKTV June 28, 2012 7:30am-8:00am PDT
which are african-american, have health care coverage. >> where does the naacp go from here in terms of advocacy question progressive legislators talking about wanting a single payer initiative. many activists say the legislation is there, it just dropped the words "over 65" from medicare for all. >> we very much support the need to cover the rest of americans that are not yet covered, even by this law. it has to be fully implemented which means of preparations and other issues have to fall in line. but looking at those americans yet still be covered, we must push in that direction. single payer must be on the table as we have these discussions to cover all americans and provide health care insurance for all. >> david cole, still on the line from vermont, looking at scotus blog giving us a much of the accurate information coming out of the court right now, justice
ginsburg would uphold medicaid just as congress wrote it. that is not controlling crude going on to say, and opening statement in dissent, anthony kennedy says in our view the entire act before us is in balance in its entirety. david cole? >> that is quite remarkable. two things are remarkable. one, everybody thought kennedy was the decisive vote here, that if he went with the liberals, it would be upheld. if you want with the conservatives, it would be struck down. in fact, he went with the conservatives and chief justice roberts turned out to be the one who broke from the conservatives and went with the court with the liberals to uphold the law. the sector remarkable thing, at least from the opening line of justice kennedy's, the conservative justices joined by kennedy in this instance would have not only invalidated the
individual mandate, they would have struck down the entire statute because one particular provision they conclude it was unconstitutional. that is a really remarkable position, and really put us way back beyond square one in terms of starting over. >> and the idea this continues, a private entrance, will stop the momentum for saying clearly the whole system is broken? >> well, yes, but you cannot let the perfect the enemy of the good. this is a law, as hillary shelton underscored, that is going to have the effect of expanding health care to millions and millions of americans who did not have it before. it is also a law that ensures that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage, cannot be discriminated against, cannot be charged higher rates. it does a lot of good.
yes, it is not the perfect law or the best law, of course that was not the question before the court. the question before the court, "does congress have the power to step in and deal with a problem of national breath by enacting a broad based law that regulates the insurance industry and requires people who can afford to do so to buy into the system rather than be free riders?" and now we will be able to live without law. if it does not work, asbestos should, there will be room for reform in the future. but i think those -- it would of been good to be struck down because somehow it would be it is closer to single
payer, are living in an alternate universe. >> wendell potter, with a mandate they make a lot of money. we did hear even with that behind the scenes, there were working to support this legislation you were a top executive with two major insurance companies from spokesperson france at that and to manage. they have come out pretty well, haven't they? >> pretty well. they do not like the mandates penalty, in other words, they think the law does not penalize people enough for not buying coverage. so they are not of one mind within the industry. their concern the mandate would be struck and the other parts of the law go forward and that was their worst nightmare. i want to point out. a rate what others have been saying -- and reiterate what others have been saying. i think the industry realizes there will be under the gun to make sure they're better able to
provide coverage to americans before the single payer movement will get much stronger, and i think it well. not all single payer advocates are believing this is a setback. i travel and talk to a lot of health care advocates, including single payer advocates. i know many see this as i do, as the end of the beginning of reform, something we can build and must build on. it brings millions of people into coverage that we need to do. single payer people really support the notion we need to do all we can to bring people into coverage because it saves lives. >> elisabeth benjamin, in terms of the issue of saving lives, overall, medicare for all, if you could explain its, what it would mean and the difference between that and what we have right now? >> the medicare system is a system where the government reimburses providers,
essentially, directly, although some use medicare through managed care plans, the vast majority of americans who are seniors or have disabilities long-term use the medicare system to pay for their care. that is just a direct government to provider payment, essentially. this puts the insurance companies in the middle. it is building off the current system of employer-sponsored insurance coverage or job-based insurance coverage. what it does is it says that people who do not have medicare would go to the local state, if they did not have job-based coverage and that your employer will have to automatically enroll you in health insurance if you're in a large company and if your small employer, the have no requirement but it up to 50% tax subsidies if they do so. there is incredible incentive for small businesses to offer you health insurance coverage.
in fact, it facilitates small businesses to offer employees coverage. they will be setting up these little health insurance exchanges are marketplaces for the small businesses can go into an apple apple comparison and quickly and efficiently by coverage. the other thing it does, it offers these exchanges are marketplaces for individuals who do not have covered with tax subsidies, a ladder of subsidies as you go up the income scale, to buy insurance. finally, the third leg of the stool, it expands medicaid. medicare is for seniors and people with disabilities. medicaid is essentially free coverage for very low-income people. what this law does is built off the existing system trying to make it a little better. it also will generate i think
$143 billion in deficit savings over 10 years. and i guess another sort of component -- and there are many, many elements -- another element is it really starts to regulate the insurance industry. i think many of your prior speakers have put up a lot of legitimate concerns that the current private industry is not as regulated as it should be. i think the obama administration has taken those concerns very much to heart and mind of the state insurance commissioners also have taken the concerns to her -- many of the state insurance commissioners have also taken the concerns to heart. we will see more and more insurance regulation to really correct the bad actors in the market. >> i want to talk about racial disparities in health care, but i want to read a summary scotus summary blog is as the affordable care act including individual mandate that virtually all americans buy
health insurance is constitutional. there were not five votes to upheld on the ground that congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance, however, five justices agreed the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax congress can impose using its taxing power. that is all that matters because the mandate survives the court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute or constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for medicaid or risk losing funding. on that question, the court upheld the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they did not comply with the new requirements rather than all of their funding. again, that from scotus blog. hillary shelton is still with us in washington, d.c., outside the supreme court. he is the naacp washington bureau director and senior vice president for advocacy.
actually, i've been just told it is russell mokhiber with us, editor of the washington, d.c. based corporate crime reporter. your thoughts today on the supreme court, chief justice roberts siding with four other members of the court saying that the affordable care act is constitutional including the individual mandate? >> good morning. single payer action hits our economy and 50 doctors found an amicus brief asking them to strike down the obama mandate. we thought it was unconstitutional to force people like myself to buy lousy health insurance from major corporations. instead, we want to get rid of the insurance corporations. this is constitutional, get rid of the interest corporations and place them all with one single payer like taiwan and canada and the uk.
this would no longer would we have 120 million americans dying every day from lack of health insurance. we would control costs, have a system that most major western industrialized countries -- [no audio] [no audio] they accused us of taking money from the republicans and all this because we are calling for the mandate to be struck down
because the men to protect the insurance industry. but this was a bold, courageous move, 50 medical doctors calling on the court to strike down the obama mandate and then let us all move to get rid of the insurance companies. but this fundamentally is not a legal issue, but a political one. what the court is telling us today is we have to figure out how to organize to move this congress to do the right thing, to do with the american people want, to do with the majority of doctors and nurses want and that is get rid of the insurance companies and have one single medicare for all payer. >> russell, what about the points david cole made about the perfect thing the enemy of the good. he is speaking to us from a vermont or they have passed health care for all. the idea that you work toward that, but still cover tens of millions of people more, russell mokhiber? >> vermont is not single payer.
in fact, what is happening or what would happen under obama would not cover 23 million people, even when it was fully implemented. people are going to suffer for probably five to 10 more years until the suffering becomes unbearable. then we will have to come to the conclusion the rest of the industrialized world has come to, and that is get rid of the insurance companies and have one single payer. i don't know if you heard about the harvard law professor who taught obama to courses on law saying obama must be defeated. the reason he said that was because obama pretends to be a progressive and he is not, that it puts out the idea this is a progressive law and it is not read it just protect his corporate funders. the supreme court today protected those binders as well. >> russell mokhiber, next to is congressmember from minneapolis, keith ellison, one
of the members of the largest caucus in the house, i believe, and that is the progressive caucus. and one of the issues that has been raised over the last few days is bad the members of the progressive caucus will launch a single payer initiative. congressmember ellison also happens to be the first muslim member of congress. welcome to the "democracy now!" special broadcast but as you speak outside the supreme court and you're the chief justice roberts joined with four other members of the court to uphold the affordable care act, what is your response? >> my responses that i think it is better that it was up and -- upheld than struck down. changes that happen in one fell swoop.
i think the affordable care act, as much as i think it can barely be questioned, was a giant leap over what we had before. 32 million more people get health care. the progress of women -- i think i just lost something. >> we can hear you fine. >> i hear a phone hung up. >> we can hear you, congressman ellison. keep talking. if the camera person or producers can tell the congressman to just keep on talking, that would be great. in a moment, we will go to michael moore responding to this. david cole, in vermont, the point vermont does not have universal health care? >> well, i am vacationing in
vermont, not an expert on vermont. again, i just think we should be or keep our eye on the ball. the question should be, should the supreme court overturn what congress and the president had enacted in attempting to extend to a large number of people who are not covered, health care insurance. the quid pro quo was to say to people who can afford it -- again, this only applies to people who can afford to buy health care insurance. look, you have to buy into the system or pay a tax break if you do not buy into the system, then you're part of the problem. you are a free rider. everybody has to be responsible to act together to ensure we can provide as broad health care insurance as possible. the question was whether congress has the authority to do that. i think we should be celebrating the fact the supreme court
upheld that power. it does not mean this is the best law that could ever have been enacted. it does not mean we still should be pressing for better health care insurance for all. but this is far better than the alternative. the alternative would have been denying health care insurance to the many, many millions of people this law extends to and going back to where we were before this massive effort to try to expand healthcare insurance was undertaken. >> we have congressmember keith ellison back in washington, d.c., part of the progressive caucus. co-head of the progressive caucus. what about the issue of a public option, with the progressive caucus plans to do? >> america needs it. it is what is needed. it is the next logical step. it is what we all have to fight
for and educate for. now that we know congress has the authority to regulate in this area, why should we stop now? i think we need a public auction and medicare for all in this will be a key feature of what we will continue to stand for. we also need to understand this should put wind in our sales. we should be more invigorated. if there's anything to worry about, the big worry is to make sure that insurance companies do not try to gouge their premiums. the other worry estimates to the progressive movement does not think, "ok, we won that one." now it is time to organize much more so. i would like to see some amendments that would allow states to pursue a single payer system, public auction system that would allow states to conglomerates and not just have exchanges in their own states but on a wider basis and really
have accountability at these interns companies, which is something that is sorely needed and has been for generations. i think there's a lot more work to be done. now we should get at it knowing at least this round of this step forward was protected. >> elisabeth benjamin? >> i was just one to say to his point about we need to work to prevent insurance companies from gouging us, there is a lot in the affordable care act that does go to that. basically, the affordable care act says insurance companies must spend at least 15% of every premium dollar, so a 85% of every premium dollar, on health care costs. only 15%, which is still too much in my opinion, to be spent on profit, administration, and a bunch of other stuff. right now many, many insurance
products for the insurance companies are only spending 75 cents or 60 cents of every dollar on health care costs. this is a huge step. it is a beginning of a long conversation about the role of insurance carriers, but there is aggressive regulation that is built in to protect us. consumer protections for us who have health insurance. it is an exciting day. >> congressmember alison? >> that is absolutely right. but we have to make sure these are fully utilized and enforced. states would be able to take legal action if they feel they're being gouged and having premiums rise at an extraordinary rate beyond any sort of rationality. there are a few ways to try to hold insurance companies more and more accountable. the big buffer now will be to
fully implement the law. and number of states are resisting the implementation of the exchanges. right now, hhs has to make sure that every state has one, functioning as intended, and until we really let the affordable care act so in. when people see it the way they see medicare, the way they see social security. nobody ever said we cannot improve medicare and social security. we will and we have. >> congressmember keith ellison, thank you for being with us, a member of the progressive caucus and elisabeth benjamin as return to michael moore and los angeles. he is the academy award winning filmmaker who made the 2007 documentary "sicko >> among other films. your response to the supreme court led by chief justice roberts up holding the affordable care act?
>> i think -- the mistake the positive first. this is a huge victory for our side, in spite of all my concerns with this law that it did not go far enough, does not cover all americans, not true universal health care. nonetheless, the right wing has been handed a serious defeat today. this is a real smacked down of the way they believe our country should be structured. on that alone, everybody should feel really good right now. i know we're not used to you so areeuphoria. in this case, i think everybody should stop today and celebrate this victory.
tomorrow, we have to keep moving the ball down the field. we have to work toward medicare for all so everyone is covered, single payer, all these things. it would have been harder to move that all of the decision had gone the other way today. the best thing about this is its moves history forward on the right path toward what we will eventually have, just as every other civilized country has it. on that level, i feel really good. to mark, or maybe even later today, we will start talking about how this law was also structured to create huge, huge profits for insurance companies. in the end, we cannot allow private insurance, people making a profit of people
getting sick, a private entrance is not the way to go. we have to keep moving. >> i want to remind people about the documentary you did which goes very much to the point you just made, michael moore, this is a trailer of "sicko." >> to make good docs are getting out of business. cannot ob/byn's practice. >> win michael moore started to make a movie, top-level executives were on the defensive. what are they hiding? >> that is not on, right? >> no. >> all right. >> if you did nine more people health care, you got a bonus? >> when you do not spend money, it is a savings to the company. >> i want america that the finest health care and the world.
>> here is what it costs to buy these men, this woman, this guy and this guy and the united states. to a slightly ahead of slovenia. >> i denied unnecessary operation and caused a man's death. >> in the world's richest country -- >> i work three jobs >> uniquely american, isn't it? that is fantastic. >> i get a bill from my insurance company telling me the ambulance ride was not preapproved i don't know when i was supposed to pre approve it, after i gained consciousness and the car? before i got in the ambulance? >> is the only medicine. >> there's one place on american soil that has free universal health care. >> guantanamo bay. >> detainees are given access
to top notch medical facilities. >> permission to enter. i have 3 9/11 rescue workers for it i just want the same kind of medical attention the evildoers are getting pretty >> there is michael moore, the fifth anniversary of his documentary. he is on videostream with us from los angeles. he is responding to the supreme court upholding the affordable care act. and those that sided with chief justice who was the swing vote in the decision, rick pittard is for, steven r. consumnes sotomayor and elena kagan. a lot of single payer advocates know it is not a surprise he sided with them because it was siding with the insurance industry. certainly an industry you have taken nine and targeted you. your thoughts when you say tomorrow we began the fight for medicare for all, on what direction that should go? >> toward exactly wages said,
medicare for all. we need to expand medicare for all the citizens of this country. of course this is something the insurance companies do not want to happen because of the milly, medicare for all will not worked if the people are not in charge of its. the insurance companies will be calling the shots. they will be restricted more than they were in the past. for instance, one of the great things about today is the provision they cannot deny people because of pre-existing conditions. apparently, that stands. the fact parents can keep their children up to the age of 26 on their health insurance, that stands. there are the smaller provisions -- the key talking about the mandate been the centerpiece. there are other pieces up the law i think are just as important if not more so.
the mandate -- i mean, i have never supported it because it mandates people to give money to these profit-making insurance companies. it would be different if it was something the government ran that you and i were in charge of, then, yes, everybody has to be part of the system. we're all in this together. we'll have to share the burden and take care of each other. so that is the part that needs to continue. the national nurses union is going to lead the way on this. we should get behind their efforts. i am very optimistic. i know we have a hard road ahead of us. but if you just take the long view of this, every step of the way those in our direction, not the backward direction. >> michael moore, thank you for being with us, is the academy